Major Ernesto Duarte
Florida Highway Patrol
For Release December 29, 2005:
TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Sheriff's Association, the Florida Highway Patrol, and the Florida Police Chief's Association will be joining forces on Friday, December 30, 2005, in support of Operation Lights for Life, a statewide DUI enforcement initiative undertaken by Florida’s law enforcement community with two key objectives: to remember those who were killed or injured in alcohol related crashes in our state, as well as the surviving families; and to pledge our continued commitment to rid Florida’s roadways of impaired drivers. During this operation, law enforcement agencies will conduct joint and independent DUI enforcement, such as saturation patrols and checkpoints.
In 2004, 1,093 people were killed and 17,580 injured in 23,013 alcohol related crashes in Florida. Nationally, nearly 17,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands injured in addition to countless families left suffering because of impaired driving.
Recently, MADD Chief Executive Officer Charles Hurley announced MADD's goal of reducing DUI related traffic fatalities in the country by 25% by December 31, 2008. This is an aggressive goal, but one that law enforcement agencies in Florida support. “We must recognize that Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a re-emerging issue that cannot be ignored. Law enforcement in Florida will continue to focus on impaired driving through enforcement campaigns such as Operation Lights for Life in order to keep Florida’s roadways safe from impaired drivers, which prevents future tragedies,” said Colonel Chris Knight, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “The carnage caused by impaired drivers in our communities is shocking. In order to effectively change this trend, people must alter their behavior by not getting behind the wheel of an automobile after having consumed alcohol,” said Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary, President of the Florida Sheriff’s Association. “Curbing the needless number of deaths and injuries which result from D.U.I. crashes has been and will continue to be a top priority for Florida’s law enforcement community in 2006 and beyond,” remarked Temple Terrace Police Chief, Tony Velong, President of the Florida Police Chief’s Association.
The results of this enforcement operation will be released to the public on Tuesday, January 3, 2006.